Expanding the customer portfolio is a fundamental part of doing business. However, many salespeople find it difficult to make the first contact and arrange an interview to present an offer. Planning, hiring, and business psychology issues are the most common when confronting a potential buyer.

Many companies are unaware of what is at stake when they pick up the phone and start the sales process. The first impression that the customer perceives will be decisive and determine the development and the result of the management that has just started.

If the customer’s experience is pleasant, they’re more likely to build business relationships and recommend your product to others; if it was neutral, the probability drops to 50%. But if the experience is negative, he won’t buy anything and tell more than twenty people about it.

Information is power

One of the most common flaws in designing a customer acquisition strategy is the lack of a specific study of each potential buyer. Improvisation and over-reliance on the dialectical resources of the so-called “target sellers” usually bring little benefit.

Previous investigation. The key to not wasting time with a customer is to reach them with as much information about their business as possible. You need to know who is making the purchasing decision, when is the best time to bid, which companies you are working with and how satisfied you are with them. Any information from your professional profile, minimal as it may seem, can be crucial when we contact you directly.

The best recommendation. The more we know about the client’s interests, the easier it will be for us to serve them and build a lasting relationship. The best way to enter a company’s program is through a reference that guarantees our product.

A professional reference is an idea that a customer makes to others who aren’t already. The aim is to get the new client off to a good start and, if possible, to get the treatment they are used to. However, other experts advocate techniques where the importer only needs to provide us with a name and phone number.

The power of imagination. In any case, and as a last resort, you can opt for imaginative solutions. The ideal is to have a contact with a real professional connection, but if we don’t have one, we can use a trick. For example, looking at the prospect’s org chart and picking an incorrect reference among their managers. The client will not discover the deception because once the negotiation has started, they will not bother to verify it.

The calling

Many salespeople avoid cold calling prospects because they don’t feel comfortable asking strangers for interviews. The best way to raise the temperature is to approach them with a good reference and previous research. If we manage to meet both requirements, we are ready for a short and concise call:

Presentation. When greeting, we must use the client’s name and clearly state ours, the company we work for and the position we hold.

Justification. We always have to give a reason why we’re calling.

Petition. If you ask for the interview, we will do so with a clear and firm voice. We will propose two alternatives for the meeting (two days and two different times).

Taking leave. If the client accepts the interview, we need to confirm the location, date and time of the celebration. If you have not accepted it, we sincerely thank you for your attention.

However, none of these techniques will be satisfactory unless developed with full moral conviction. The salesperson must enjoy the relationships they have with customers and convince themselves that they are calling them because of their ability to offer benefits. When you reach a certain level of cordiality, you have made those you are talking to more receptive.

how we are different

A potential customer differentiates the offers of his suppliers according to the following parameters, from greater to lesser importance: First, the seller himself; second, the company it represents, and third, the range of products, solutions, and services it presents to you.

Although there are no rules of conduct that guarantee success, when communicating with a potential buyer, experts unanimously point out these three commandments:

Hear what they tell us. Through his words, the client tells us what judgment our behavior deserves: when we are very aggressive, when we express ourselves persuasively, when our presentations are too short or too long, etc.

Learn from their reactions. We must perceive these messages and know how to interpret them to get the interview but also to improve our technique and use it in the future.

Never rush. By adhering to the two previous points, we will identify when we should proceed and when it is not appropriate to insist.

Ten steps to becoming a new customer

Getting the first interviews is a fundamental part of the job of advertising and sales teams. Many of them become discouraged when rejected. The success or failure of requesting an interview lies in the techniques we use to request it.

1. Field work

The client begins to catch him long before he meets him. Find out about potential customers, examine their needs and the dates of their purchases, because every bit of information, no matter how small, can be crucial in direct contact.

If your company is not yet well known in the sector, it would be useful for you to send a dossier to potential buyers to inform them about your activity and to prepare the ground for the first contact.

2. Use the network

New technologies make it easier for us to access customers. The Internet simplifies the use of typical marketing tools and makes them faster and more efficient. E-mail is an excellent tool for establishing personal contact and maintaining an information channel.

If you are emailing a presentation from your company, always do so to the email addresses of executives who will be responsible for evaluating your proposal or have an influence on it, never to a general company address.

3. A good product

Convince yourself that the client can benefit from your offer. It’s not about deceiving anyone, it’s about personal and professional gain. When contacting someone, you need to be aware that your product will help them in their professional activity and that it is worth much more than you ask for.

We need to have a lot of psychology to discover the client’s “hidden desires”. If we can satisfy him, we have won the battle of opportunism and the customer will subtly perceive that we can provide him with the service he desires.

4. The typical customer

It is important to choose the potential customer well. While acknowledging that everyone is a target customer, we also recognize that our offer does not provide specific benefits for any of them. But if you know exactly where your company is positioned in the market, you have a better chance of success in selecting future buyers.

If we have to contact a person who has already rejected us, we will make you a new offer more adapted to the characteristics of your company. Imagination and creativity are essential for the client to perceive that we have taken care of their specific case.

5. Ask for references

When we ask a customer for a reference, we want them to introduce us to another company while strengthening our bond with them. Our professional and personal relationship must be completely satisfactory, because only in this way can we get a real commitment from the person who gives us this contact.

The reference request is not limited to asking for names and telephone numbers. The most advisable thing is to request an interview with our happiest customer and ask them to be the one to make the first contact. This makes it easier for us to meet the potential customer and helps us to follow up the negotiation.

6. Be careful with the phone

The goal of cold calling is to get the interview, but nervousness and a lack of planning can cause us to rush the process and try to close the sale on the spot. So if we hurry, we’ve made a bad impression.

Try calling when no one is around. The times when phones are typically quietest are first thing in the morning and last in the afternoon. If we call at these times, we have more opportunities to get an appointment, either because our interlocutor is organizing their agenda or because they are staying at work at the end of the day.

7. A positive vocabulary

We need to focus on maintaining a positive attitude during the conversation. If we think in our heart that cold calling is a waste of time and not for getting customers, it will be very difficult for us to arouse interest and enthusiasm for our product.

Our interest can lead us to behave submissively and complacently. That would portray us as inexperienced and dubious.

8. Talk to the buyers

You need to be clear about who you want to interview, ie the person who has the real decision making power over purchases.

It is possible that to access the responsible person we will have to overcome several filters (switchboards, secretaries, assistants …).

However, we can use these filters to test the terrain, extract more information about the customer, and better prepare the next call.

9. Body Expression

The posture, the tone and even the movements we make during the call are perceived by our interlocutor. When we express concern or anxiety, the client may notice our anxiety and not be attracted to what we are saying.

Always try to speak standing up and in front of a mirror, force your smile and lighten your facial expressions to make your voice sound friendlier.

10. Retire on time

Do not insist on the same customer more than three times. The purpose is not to call many people many times, but to get interviews to attract and keep customers.

If after three calls you don’t get an appointment or get a cancellation, you put the case on hold for a while until you can resume it under any pretext. Our image will not have deteriorated and the customer will appreciate our patience and discretion.

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